Friday, July 4, 2008

Vacationers Enjoy Southern Maine in Spite of Tough Economic Circumstances

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist

The number of cars that drove to southern Maine this June is down compared to June 2007, but Carrie Eisner, Vice President of The Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce doesn’t see that as a bad thing. Eisner points out that business has not slowed for local merchants that rely on tourists and that some businesses are actually doing better this year than last.
“The York Harbor Inn – they’re right in line with their average June of the last few years,” Eisner said. The same is true of Sun & Surf Restaurant in York Beach, and “Seaside Vacation Rentals’ (a business specializing in cottage rentals) business is up 10%,” a figure that Eisner feels points to a trend in this years tourists.
They are “vacationing smarter” this year, Eisner said, “people are going on vacations with other families and friends,” and more tourists are renting cottages which give them an opportunity to enjoy a home-made snack before hitting the beach. Those extra pennies allow vacationers to indulge in delicious dinners at local restaurants that night just like they did the year before.
The population of The Yorks (York Village, York Harbor, York Beach, Cape Neddick) approximately doubles during the summer tourist season, and this year there were concerns that gas prices could keep many tourists away. “Gas prices are scary,” Eisner said, but “reservations are good, people are still vacationing.”
The York Chamber represents The Yorks, Kittery, Eliot and South Berwick. Its mission is to promote the growth and prosperity of the southern Maine region. It also serves as a resource center for “anyone visiting the area or wanting area info,” said Eisner who has been with the Chamber for seven years.